Beach-goers have stumbled upon an eerie-looking fish that, in an incredibly rare sight, sports rows of wavy teeth.
Beach dwellers feared for their lives after a gruesome-looking sea creature washed ashore on a San Diego beach on Tuesday.
“I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said photo photographer Jay Baylor NBC of a sea monster he found at Torrey Pines State Beach.
Initially thinking it might be a jellyfish, a closer look led beach-goers to realize that it was actually a fish, reports Storyful. By then a huge crowd of curious spectators had gathered.
“It’s the stuff of nightmares – the mouth almost looked bloody!” Mr Baylor said.
He estimated that the sea creature was about 30 cm long.
His photographs show the fish, which sports rows of wavy teeth and a fleshy tassel on the head.
NBC reported that the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has since identified the animal as the Pacific footballfish, one of the larger species of anglerfish, reaching a maximum length of 60 cm.
The marine predator is notable for the fleshy, bioluminescent head protuberance it uses to lure smaller prey. California Academy of Sciences,
Since footballfish typically live at depths of 600–1000 m, sightings on land are extremely rare.
In fact, this is the first time this ocean dweller has been seen in San Diego since Mr. Beeler’s discovery in 2001. Accuweather informed of.
“It’s only been seen a few times here in California,” said Ben Frable, collection manager for the Marine Vertebrate Collection at Scripps.
“Pacific footballfish are known from 30 specimens that have ever been collected and brought to museums around the Pacific Ocean.”
However, scientists “are not really sure what causes them to wash out,” he said.
Mr Beeler, for one, is still buzzing with the encounter.
“You know, I go to the beach often, so I’m familiar with the area, but I’ve never seen a creature that looked quite scary like this,” he said.
This is not the first time a rare fish has washed ashore of late. In July, Oregon beachgoers were stunned after the wildly colored 45kg opah was discovered off the coast of the state’s Northwest Territories.
This article originally appeared on New York Post and was reproduced with permission